Saturday, September 29, 2012

9 comments What Do These Rule Changes Suggested by Chuck Klosterman Mean When Compared to How We Feel about Sports and How Does That Reflect on Our Existence?

Chuck Klosterman has some rule changes for the NFL he admits are terrible. I like how he is writing an article suggesting NFL rule changes and then admits what he is writing is complete shit. As if admitting what he is writing is terrible can be a ready-made excuse for a low quality column. It doesn't work that way in my world. Chuck has made some rule changes he is super-serious about or he is kidding about. Not that it matters really. The fact I don't like these rule changes in the NFL, what does that say about me as a sports fan and how much navel-gazing is too much navel-gazing and is it possible to overuse italics to show emphasis?

Here's something I hate about myself:

Here's something I hate about myself. I spend my time reading articles I don't like and telling everyone why I don't like them. Enough with the therapy, get to the ideas.

Whenever the NFL introduces a new rule, I'm automatically against it. My natural reaction to any change in the rule book is to assume it's wrong.

Well, great. We get along then because my natural reaction is to assume the rule changes Chuck suggests are wrong.

And yet — despite this reflexive disagreement with every change made by other people — I annually find myself inventing potential rule changes that I'd undoubtedly be against if they were proposed by anyone who wasn't me.

But what does this say about Chuck? Let's spend 30 minutes focused completely on Chuck Klosterman and why he would react this way to rule changes not proposed by him. Or does the fact I am focusing 30 minutes on how Chuck reacts say more about me as a blogger? Or does the fact I just called myself a blogger admit a natural inferiority complex when it comes to "real" writers and that's why I am criticizing Chuck? Or am I criticizing Chuck because the way he writes sometimes makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a pair of sharp scissors? Or do I want to stab myself in the eye with a pair of scissors because my natural inferiority complex causes me to hate myself, as well as those sportswriters I consider better than me?

Two things I notice in the first paragraph as a person who rarely reads anything Klosterman writes:

1. He and Bill Simmons love using italics in their writing. It is by far their favorite way to show emphasis.

2. I can see why Chuck and Bill get along. Both seem fairly self-centered and very focused on their own reaction to an event/person/place/thing and what this means in terms of the event/person/place/thing as a whole. It's all very self-centric.

Here are three rule changes that I would consider wrongheaded, except for the fact that I thought of them …

"These ideas suck, but I thought of them, so they don't suck, even though I think they suck."

What If Red-Zone Field Goals Were Decreased in Value?

Then this may be stupid because it would be de-incentivizing an offense getting closer to the opposing team's goal line, while rewarding teams who can't get as close to the opponents' goal line.

As an example, I will pretend two teams are playing, the Patriots and the Ravens. Let's say a red-zone field goal is worth only one point while a field goal out of the red zone is worth the standard three points.

The Patriots get in the Ravens red zone seven times on the day. Three times the Patriots score, one time the Patriots give the ball up on downs, and three times they kick a one-point field goal for a total of 24 points.

The Ravens get in the Patriots red zone three times on the day, but are stopped outside the red zone three times. The Ravens kick a one-point field goal, score a touchdown twice, and make three field goals outside the red zone for a total of 24 points.

Both teams would have scored 24 points, but the Patriots would be forced to make the choice between going for it on fourth down or kicking a one-point field goal three times. I'm not against a head coach having to make a difficult choice during a game, but the Patriots would be better off not making it inside the red zone. In fact, the Patriots would be better off losing yardage on third down to move the ball back out of the red zone in certain situations (Third-and-goal on the 18 yard line for example).

I don't like this idea since it gives teams who can't get to the red zone as often an advantage in that they get the opportunity to score more points by kicking a field goal and don't have to make the choice between a lower value field goal and going for it on fourth down. Now granted, a field goal is more difficult outside of the red zone (or should be), but I think a defense should be rewarded for doing their job well and not punished by increasing the value of longer field goals.

It's simply not interesting to watch someone kick a ball off the ground,

I would disagree. I think it is exciting to see a field goal attempt.

and it's problematic that the outcome of so many pro football games is decided by players who could not possibly compete at any other position on the field.

I don't see how this is problematic at all. Kicking field goals is a part of the game of football, so in the realm of kicking the football field goal kickers can compete. You could say the same thing for offensive linemen. Get rid of offensive linemen because they could never kick a field goal. Get rid of a quarterback because he could never play linebacker.

One possible adjustment would be narrowing the goal posts from 18 feet, six inches to a straightforward 15 feet. However, there are a couple of unavoidable issues with this suggestion. The first is that it would require stadium crews to swap out new goalposts whenever a college game was played on the same field;

Yes, let's make sure the stadium crew doesn't have to swap out goalposts on those 1-2 occasions when a college game is played on an NFL field, and instead just change the entire rules of football. That makes so much more sense to change the entire rules of football as opposed to having stadium crews do a little extra work 1-2 times per year. It's like killing an ant with an atom bomb.

The more militant option is decreasing the value of short field goals: If the line of scrimmage falls inside the 10, any ensuing field goal should be worth only two points.

Absolutely. Because teams need to be punished for getting closer to their opponent's goal line. That makes sense to de-incentivize good defense by rewarding teams who can't get in the red zone, but have a quality placekicker who can consistently make 40-49 yard field goals. While we are at it let's make some rule changes to baseball, runs that are scored on singles are only worth 0.5 runs, while a run driven home on a home run is worth 1 run. In basketball, baskets made in the paint are worth 1 point, while baskets at half-court are worth five points.

There are at least four. The first is that this change would be impossible to get used to (I think it would take me at least 15 years to stop thinking all field goals aren't three points, particularly since I still sometimes refer to the Colts as playing in Baltimore).

We wouldn't want the rule change that Chuck Klosterman suggested to confuse Chuck Klosterman.

Still another is that it rewards offenses for having drives that stall outside the red zone. But the most troubling scenario revolves around teams that are down by three late in a game and inadvertently advance the ball inside the 10. Do they then take a sack on purpose? It might come across as farcical.

This is one of those ideas better left in the "idea" stage where it just stays in Chuck Klosterman's head and never makes its way to a keyboard.

There's no way this rule wouldn't make football more watchable;

Unless you are an NFL fan who likes logic and aggressive defenses.

It would also give bend-but-don't-break defenses more confidence, since they'd have a greater opportunity to end long drives without giving up any points whatsoever.

And we all know while watching a kicker kick a field goal is very boring, nothing is more exciting than a bend-don't-break defense. In an age where the rules have changed to cause defenses to be less aggressive with receivers, it would be a welcome change to see defenses play even less aggressively.

I would love to have a discussion on how this rule would be integrated with Chuck's Rule #2 which helps defenses become more aggressive. So he suggests Rule #1 which would cause more teams to use bend-don't-break defenses, then suggests Rule #2 (which I will get to in a minute) that helps the defense become more aggressive.

The fact that some field goals would be worth more than others feels weird, but that type of structure exists in basketball and clearly makes the game better.

Except it is different in basketball. The three-point line doesn't reward teams who play bad defense but rewards teams who play great offense. That's not what this NFL rule does. It doesn't reward teams who play great offense and rewards defenses who give up a lot of yardage. Teams who give up a lot of yardage are rewarded for this, while teams who don't give up a lot of yardage and hold the opposing team to long field goals are punished.

Now, the idea of teams losing yards on purpose is hard to justify. It looks bad to retreat. But of course, that already happens on occasion (whenever teams consciously take a safety).

A team consciously takes a safety maybe 5-10 times per year.

Let's say any successful field goal from inside the 10 was worth one point less than field goals from the 11. The Green Bay Packers are faced with third and goal from the 7. Is it to their mathematical advantage to try to score a touchdown (and thereby settle for a 2-point kick if they fail), or would they be better off losing four yards on purpose to get an (almost guaranteed) extra point?

What a great rule! The Packers have a choice between giving up on third down or trying to score a touchdown. Any rule in football where a team purposely would lose yardage to earn more points isn't a rule I can support.

Would they be better served to throw the ball into the end zone twice (and risk coming away with nothing)? And what if instead of the Packers, it were the Jets or the Browns?

OR! What if, we just kept field goals at three points and didn't turn the NFL into a game based entirely on strategy and kept it a game of strategy and skill?

What If Offensive Holding Were Legalized and the So-called "Mel Blount Rule" Were Eliminated?

Offensive linemen would now be allowed to hold (but not tackle) defensive pass rushers inside the tackle box; meanwhile, defensive backs could make unlimited downfield contact on receivers, up until the point when the ball is in the air.

Great, so NFL games would turn into wrestling matches at the line of scrimmage and cornerbacks would see if they could knock the opposing wide receiver down and then hold the receiver down so he can't get up to catch a pass. Completion percentages would be at around 40% and any long passes would rarely get completed. Anything to take the excitement out of the game of football I guess.

The Problem With This Idea: It would contradict some basic ideas about how football is played.

This is just a minor drawback of course. I would suggest football be played in raw sewage and the players throw a canned ham around instead of a football, but one big drawback is this would contradict the entire set up for how football is played.

It might also affect the running game in a context that's hard to predict (for example, draw plays might become unstoppable).

You mean the draw play would be unstoppable when the offense goes four-wide, the offensive line could hold the defensive players, and the wide receivers could block the defensive players to where they conceivably can't get to the runner in time? Yeah, I could see how that is an issue.

The Reason This Idea Is Not Totally Insane:

None. It is totally insane.

But there would be some massive benefits to the abolition of these rules, one of which could save the game's future.

So these rules that are insane and Chuck Klosterman isn't really serious about implementing, unless you agree with these rules, in which case he is super-serious about implementing them in order to SAVE THE GAME OF FOOTBALL.

It's incessantly (and accurately) argued that referees could feasibly call holding on every single pass play; it's really just a matter of whether or not the ref sees the infraction clearly enough (or whether it happens to be especially egregious). This would end that arbitrary judgment call.

I don't really see holding as an arbitrary judgment call. When I think of officiating calls that are arbitrary judgment calls, I think of the charge rule in college basketball. The charge call isn't clearly defined and seems to one that could go either way. Usually when I see a flag thrown for holding I see there was indeed holding on the play and the reason for the call is fairly clear.

If holding were legal, quarterbacks would be able to stand in the pocket much, much longer.

And we all know we want to see the quarterback standing in the pocket for a longer period of time while his offensive linemen try to wrestle defensive players to the ground.

But if a defensive back could essentially hand-check a receiver as he runs his route, the ability of that receiver to get separation would drastically decrease. In other words, it would be easier for the quarterback to accurately throw the ball downfield, but much more difficult for any receiver to break open.

What I would anticipate would then happen is the cornerback would essentially spend time knocking the receiver down, tripping him or doing anything to gain an advantage. Remember, Klosterman didn't say the wide receiver could commit offensive pass interference, so the receiver could conceivably not push off or try to create separation as the defensive player knocked him to the ground or off his route. The game of football would turn into the quarterback sitting back in the pocket waiting for a player to get open and these new rules would pretty much eliminate the threat of any long passes being completed.

I suspect the impact on passing statistics would be negligible;

I suspect you are wrong. The impact on passing statistics would be to where it would be much more difficult to complete a long pass. The short passing game might not be affected as much, but the defense would be taught to knock an offensive player down if they see him running a pass pattern deep.

the numbers might decrease a little, but that's OK. It's become too easy to throw for 4,000 yards in a season.

It might be too easy to throw for 4000 yards in a season, but I don't know if this rule change is the solution to this problem.

Obviously, concussions can happen at any time. But when do they happen most dramatically? It's usually when a wideout is sprinting unencumbered on a crossing route and a strong safety blows him apart when the ball arrives late.

Gregg Easterbrook claims concussions happen more often on kick and punt returns, while Chuck Klosterman claims concussions happen most drastically when a wideout is sprinting and a safety hits him hard when the ball arrives late. Clearly, I think more research needs to be done before I believe either point of view is correct.

What I do know is a strong safety could still blow apart a receiver using Klosterman's new rule. In fact, because contact with the receiver is allowed downfield, the safety could just blow up a receiver even if he isn't targeted for a pass. Hakeem Nicks could be running a post pattern and the opposing safety could simply come over and blow him up. Under the current rules there is a punishment in the form of a penalty for doing this, but under Chuck Klosterman's new rules there is no punishment for doing this. In essence, Klosterman has created a rule which (assuming he is correct about when concussions happen most drastically) will cause more concussions.

If cornerbacks could keep their hands on a receiver for most of the play, this kind of hyper-violent collision would happen more rarely (because WRs simply could not run free over the middle of the field).

Completed passes would also happen more rarely and defensive backs could also knock the shit out of a receiver if he does get open. I'm not sure making it legal for a defensive back to collide with a receiver is going to cause collisions to happen more rarely. The most effective way to eliminate violent collisions is to penalize them like they are currently penalized.

Meanwhile, letting offensive linemen hold would also decrease the likelihood of quarterbacks absorbing death blows from unblocked edge blitzers (because linemen could at least reach out and get a hand on the guy as he flies into the backfield).

Offensive linemen can already get a hand on a guy as he flies into the backfield to hit the quarterback. They would get called for a penalty of course, but they can still get a hand on an edge blitzer. Most of times when a quarterback absorbs a death blow it comes from an unblocked rusher who the offensive lineman or running back couldn't get to in time. So I'm not sure if the new rule allowing holding would necessarily prevent edge blitzers from hitting the quarterback hard.

in fact, it might make the game simultaneously safer and more physical. Football would still look like football.

Football wouldn't look like football if the offensive linemen and the defensive backs could legally hold the opposing player. Taking restrictions off the contact allowed in the secondary would not prevented the hit by James Harrison on Mohamed Massaquoi a few years ago. Part of what keeps receivers safe is the defense players know they can't hold a receiver or take a cheap shot on a receiver running a pattern without being called for a penalty. Now if you took the penalty away as a punishment, how that does that make football safer? Players would get hit hard even if they aren't targeted for a fact, since Chuck suggests the contact is allowed before the pass is thrown, receivers who aren't targeted for a pass would get mauled most frequently.

What If We Eliminated Overtime During the Regular Season?

What if we did this? What would this say about us as football fans who feel the need to have a definite winner and loser? Let's discuss this for 10,000 words.

In baseball, the 10th inning seems like the ninth inning — but every possession in an NFL overtime game adopts a conservative walking-on-eggshells posture, and the game inevitably ends on an anticlimax.

So change overtime, don't eliminate it completely. Keep overtime the same as it is now except give the second team with the football a chance to beat the score the opposing team put up, but the second team doesn't have the option of kicking a field goal. If Team A gets a field goal on their drive, then Team B can win the game with a touchdown, but doesn't get the option to tie the game with a field goal. Both teams get a possession and there is an actual choice to be made about whether a team wants the ball first upon winning the coin flip.

I mean, who says "no" to this?

The Problem With This Idea: Sports fans (and especially American sports fans) have a philosophical problem with disputes that end in ties. They want clear, irrefutable outcomes.

We are crazy that way in that we like to watch a competitive event and have a clear winner and loser.

The Reason This Idea Is Not Totally Crazy: Ties are deeply underrated. They make the divisional races more complex and they can have mixed, multiple meanings (whereas wins are always good and losses are always bad). Yet the larger reason they're compelling is that they force head coaches to make authentically difficult choices. Should they (or should they not) play for the tie in a deadlocked game against a superior opponent?

I can accept this reasoning, but why not change overtime to where coaches have to make authentically difficult choices rather than eliminate overtime completely?

In 2005, Jon Gruden faced this latter situation while coaching the Buccaneers in a game against the Redskins. Tampa Bay went for two and won the game 36-35. Now, this was ostensibly viewed as an ill-advised decision. Gruden would have been crucified had it failed. But that not-so-meaningful game remains unusually memorable. It was a far more compelling conclusion than either team winning on a cheap kick. And this kind of scenario happens all the time if we remove the possibility of OT.
This scenario could also happen all the time if overtime were set up in a way where each team gets one possession.

But if overtime did not exist, real choices would have to be made. Coaches would have to decide if they were willing to accept a tie instead of risking a loss (and they'd have to face the media scrutiny either way).

This is true. If overtime didn't exist then coaches would have to accept a tie instead of risking a loss. This could be done in overtime as well.

(I do love Chuck Klosterman's overuse of italics. I wonder if Bill Simmons got this writing trait from Klosterman or if Klosterman got this writing trait from Bill Simmons. Either way it brings me much joy to mock.)

As I've already noted, I'm not sure how I would feel about any of these changes if another man were advocating on their behalf.

"My ideas are stupid if they were coming from anyone else, but take them seriously because they are coming from me! Or don't take them seriously at all if you think they are bad ideas because I'm not really being serious...unless you like my ideas to improve the NFL, in which case I could not be more super-serious."

My guess is that most people reading this column are likely thinking, These are OK arguments for generally bad ideas. And this might be true — I certainly would not be comfortable in a world where my worldview dictated reality.

Chuck is so open-minded he believes even the ideas which he thinks should be implemented to improve the NFL should not be implemented because they are his own ideas. Of course Chuck also thinks these previous three ideas would have been stupid if they had come from someone else. So apparently these previous three ideas should in NO WAY be implemented by the NFL since coming from someone else they are stupid ideas and Chuck doesn't want his own worldview to dictate reality.

Critics will say that you should not fix something that isn't broken. But how do we know what isn't broken?

Because the NFL is the most popular sport in America and fundamentally changing the rules of the game when there is no apparent need to do so could affect the popularity of the NFL. People overwhelmingly like the product, which is a sure sign the NFL isn't broken. Sure, slight tweaks to the game are never a bad idea. We know the NFL isn't broken because it is the most popular sport in the United States. I don't know my car is broken, but I can take it a guess it isn't broken because it is still running and getting me from Point A to Point B.

I have no issues with "fixing" the NFL. I don't think making fundamental changes to the way the NFL presents the game of football makes sense, especially when I'm not convinced those rule changes would make the game any more exciting or safer. So these ideas that Chuck Klosterman believes suck, do 66.7% suck. The overtime item I will give him a pass on.


rich said...

What If Red-Zone Field Goals Were Decreased in Value?

Then you'd have teams running plays that net negative yardage to get out of the red zone.

The "red zone" FG isn't that big a deal given that kickers now are just as accurate from 40 as they are from 20. This is a dumb idea.

It's simply not interesting to watch someone kick a ball off the ground,

You know what's interesting? Seeing your team score points.

You know what's also interesting? The 10 or so plays that lead to them being in field goal range.

If the line of scrimmage falls inside the 10, any ensuing field goal should be worth only two points.

How many FGs would then start with: "False Start, offense, 5 yard penalty, fourth down" or "delay of game, offense, 5 yard penalty, fourth down"

It's a dumb suggestion because all it does is require the offense to piss around for a minute to get two penalties and magically the FG is worth 3 points again.

Do they then take a sack on purpose? It might come across as farcical.

You don't have to take a sack, you can still go for the TD on 3rd down and then take one or two false start penalties.

I'd love to see the end of a 2-3 point game end with the offense trying to get false start penalties while the defense tries for neutral zone infractions.

Basically, the end of football games would become an epic clusterfuck of each side trying to penalize themselves.

The Green Bay Packers are faced with third and goal from the 7. Is it to their mathematical advantage to try to score a touchdown (and thereby settle for a 2-point kick if they fail), or would they be better off losing four yards on purpose to get an (almost guaranteed) extra point?

To beat a dead horse, they don't have to. They can go for the TD and still get penalties that don't carry a 10 second run-off or a lose of down.

The fact that this entire premise is destroyed by the phrase "delay of game" is hysterical.

The Problem With This Idea: it's fucking stupid

What he should have written.

one of which could save the game's future.

::looks at NFL revenue::

Ya, the NFL is sure in need of saving. Lets institute rule changes that lead to the end of games being extended by several minutes and eliminate the passing game.

a defensive back could essentially hand-check a receiver

Hand-checking? Seriously? You give a DB "unlimited downfield contact" and this moron thinks it'll result in hand-checking?

The "Mel Blount" rule wasn't a response to hand-checking, it was a response to guys basically getting tackled at the line of scrimmage.

I suspect the impact on passing statistics would be negligible

I remember all those 5,000 yard passers from the 60s and 70s... because there were none.

Unlimited downfield contact = passing stats go in the shitter.

If cornerbacks could keep their hands on a receiver for most of the play, this kind of hyper-violent collision would happen more rarely

Bullshit. The WRs are wide open over the middle of the field because it's god damn zone coverage. Adding the stupid new rule won't change how zone coverage works.

Has this asshole even watched a football game other than in movie/tv show based off his book?

Drekkan85 said...

Just a couple thoughts:

1) Chuck is right when he says that holding happens all the time. He's wrong in saying it's arbitrary. There's a lot of holding that happens in the NFL that isn't called, but it's consistently not called. The general restriction is that as long as you have your guy in front of you while pass blocking, you can hook him up and generally hold him (despite being outside the technical rules). But once he gets by you, then you can't just clothesline him or hook onto his jersey.

So yes to technically holding, no to arbitrary. He's right, but only in the least right way possible.

2) Similarly, his statements and Easterbrook's (while both unbelievably dumb and without any factual grounding or, you know, evidence) could possibly coexist. Technically Chuck said the receiver hits are the ones where head injuries that happen most dramatically. Easterbrook says they happen most often on kick returns.

So they could happen most often on kick/punt returns, but then happen more dramatically (perhaps worse injuries, though fewer of them, or the hits look the most dramatic) on the crossing patterns.

Of course this requires a person to give Chuck and Greg a huge amount of credit for nuance and critical thinking...

You know, maybe your interpretation was right.

3) Fix overtime by going with one simple proposition. Keep this "If the first score is a field goal, the other team gets to respond" - but keep it going past the first possession and expand it. You just have to "out-point" what your opposition did on their last possession. If they score a TD, you need a TD. If they score a FG, then your FG resets the process, and a TD wins it outright. They punt or turn it over? Then you only need a FG.

There, fixed.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I think this whole article can be summed up with the idea I'm just not that bright. Maybe I am too stupid to understand it. I don't understand why red zone field goals should be worth less. You are penalizing a team for getting closer to the goal line in an effort to encourage more aggressive behavior on fourth down. This could result in more conservative behavior and teams intentionally losing yardage. It overcomplicates the game. Does anyone want to see a game where each team takes penalties or avoids getting closer to the goal line?

If the NFL wants to destroy passing stats, then allow defensive backs unlimited hand-checking. Receivers won't be able to get near a deep ball as long as the defensive back is anywhere near the receiver. I find it hard to believe there would be fewer collisions in this situation. I'd like to see it tested. More contact by the defense seems like it would result in more collisions.

Drekkan85, you are probably right about the holding. Technical holding could be called on every play, but I think the idea this means we should change the rules in order to allow more holding seems silly to me. He is right in the least right way possible.

I do see what you are saying about the difference in those two injuries. I am probably guilty of not giving Easterbrook or Klosterman much credit for nuance or critical thinking. I tend to take their comments on their face. Either way, I can't see how collisions would be reduced with more contact by the defensive backs being allowed.

I don't hate your idea of overtime. I think there are very simply ways of "fixing" overtime, though some people like it the way it is now. I don't think overtime would be that dramatically long if one team had to "out point" the other team. I am in favor of keeping it past the first possession. If the first team scores a TD, I see no reason why the other team shouldn't get a chance at a TD also.

JJJJShabado said...

In 2005, Jon Gruden faced this latter situation while coaching the Buccaneers in a game against the Redskins. Tampa Bay went for two and won the game 36-35. Now, this was ostensibly viewed as an ill-advised decision. Gruden would have been crucified had it failed. But that not-so-meaningful game remains unusually memorable. It was a far more compelling conclusion than either team winning on a cheap kick. And this kind of scenario happens all the time if we remove the possibility of OT.

I remember this game because I have followed the Bucs a bit in my past. Klosterman is leaving out some important context.

Washington had blocked the first attempt at the extra point, but they were off-sides. So half the distance to the goal, 1 yard is easier to get than two and the Bucs had Mike Alstott. Made the decision slightly easier. That is a better example of what Klosterman is talking about. Denver scored with 24 seconds left to tie and got a two point conversion to win. I feel like this happen to Chiefs or the Chiefs did it, but I don't remember enough to find that. I feel like it was in Arrowhead. Then again, I thought Martin Gramatica was the kicker in question in the Bucs-Redskins game, so I don't remember stuff as well as I used to.

rich, I don't think there is a penalty that the defense has to take. I know delay of game is declinable (it happens on punts occasionally) and false start, illegal substitution, etc should be in the same vain.

Bengoodfella said...

JJ, that is an interesting inclusion to see that the Bucs had the ball on the one yard line. I do remember this play myself actually and there was some question as to whether Mike Alstott really got in the end zone.

BR said...

Isn't Chuck Klosterman just a poseur masquerading as a media critic. I would guess that he was brought into to the Grantland family to add "gravitas" to the line up of alleged cutting edge talent. I listened to a few Simmons podcasts where Chuck seemed mostly interested in disagreeing with any inane, ridiculous what if scenario that Bill put forward. It was like his goal was to be so much more profound then Bill. Simmons seemed a little put out by the lack of love but Klosterman easily managed to come across as a pompous, know-it-all tool. Any Chuck article I've read on rock and roll has left me feeling that he was always reaching yet never attaining any depth of thought. Two guys that would make great pinatas.

rich said...


You are right that delay of game penalties can be declined, but false start penalties cannot as they are considered "dead ball fouls."

So you'd literally have two teams trying to jump offsides first.

Drekkan85 said...

@Rich - I was looking up something related to false starts/offsides when I noticed this 9and excuse the Peter Kingism) "nugget" from the rulebook. Rule 14(6) "Refusal of Penalties" does contemplate that certain penalties cannot be refused. However, in the "Note" to the section there's an important distinction.

"The yardage distance for any penalty may be declined, even if the penalty is accepted".

Thus, if a false start happens, and the penalty is accepted, the defensive team could always decline the 5 yard allotment and accept 0 yards on the penalty.

Further, I'd not this does not apply to only decline-able penalties. The rules states "any penalty" and the section prior contemplates directly that some penalties are non-declineable. By virtue of expressio unius est exclusio alterius the rule cannot be interpreted for that to be all declineable penalties.

Bengoodfella said...

BR, I think Chuck was added to the Grantland lineup as someone who does provide that "gravitas" to the site, as well as a history of reviewing and discussing pop culture. Bill wants Grantland to be about more than just sports and he thinks Chuck is good at discussing pop culture as well as sports. I'm not not a fan of Chuck Klosterman, I just believe he overthinks every issue in order to make himself seem smarter. He seems to think naval-gazing is actually discussing an issue.

So basically even if a team false started to move back, the opposing team could decline the yardage. In essence, a team could be further penalized for advancing into the red zone and trying to get a field goal. The defensive team would decline the yardage and keep the field goal worth less than 3 points.

This is all a headache and would overcomplicate the game. I don't see why red zone field goals should decrease in value, it just seems silly.